St Erth (Cornish: Lannudhno) is a village and civil parish in Cornwall, England. The village is four miles (6.5 km) southeast of St. Ives and six miles (10 km) northeast of Penzance. It had a population of 1,384 according to the UK census of 2001.
The current church of St. Erth was built around 1215, though an older church is said to have stood on St Erth Hill overlooking the village. St. Erth also has a railway station situated 0.75 miles from the village, along the branch line between St Ives and Penzance.
St. Erth was part of the West Penwith Rural District from 1894 until 1974.
The old coaching road once led through the village, before the building of the Causeway in 1825 along the edge of the Hayle Estuary. Prior to 1825 anyone wanting to go from Hayle to St Ives or Penzance had to cross the sands of Hayle Estuary or make a significant detour crossing the River Hayle at the ancient St Erth Bridge. The Star Inn, in St Erth village centre, is a fine coaching inn dating from the fourteenth/fifteenth centuries. It was along this route that tin was carried upcountry from the stannaries of Penwith. Guides took travellers across the sands, but, even with guides, it was sometimes a perilous journey and the shifting sand and racing tide claimed several lives. Because of this major obstacle to trade, a turnpike trust was formed, with Henry Harvey a trustee, to build the causeway which now takes the road below the plantation west to the Old Quay House. Costing £5000 in 1825, the investors charged a toll to use the causeway to recover their costs.
Langdon (1896) recorded that six stone crosses existed in the parish, including two in the churchyard.
St Erth was the site of a large creamery operated by United Dairies: this was responsible for processing a large quantity of milk produced in Penwith.
St Erth Sand Pits
St Erth Sand Pits was the site of choice for the extraction of clay for the fixing of candles to the helmets of miners. It also was the site of significant fossil finds and in 1962 was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). However, the main use of the sand in this location was for the metal foundries throughout Cornwall and beyond. The sand grains are found coated with a thin film of clay. With gentle pressure and the correct percentage of water the sand grains will bind together and can be used for making a sand mould into which molten metals can be poured from making engineering castings. A good source of clay for the fixing of candles to the helmets of miners was St Agnes Beacon.
One of the many maps available on A Vision of Britain through Time is one from the Ordnance Survey Series of 1900 illustrating the parish boundaries of Cornwall at the turn of the 20th century. This map blows up to show all the parishes and many of the small villages and hamlets.
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